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Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for benefits, you must:

  1. Have sufficient earnings in your base period.

    • Your benefits are based on the amount of earnings (gross wages) paid to you from all employers during a recent 52-week period of time. This is called your base period. Commissions, bonuses, overtime, vacation pay, severance pay (depending on timing), and wages earned in other states are included. Earnings from self-employment are usually not included.

  2. Be legally authorized to work in the U.S.

    • If you are not a citizen, your authorization to work will be subject to verification.

  3. Be unemployed, or working substantially reduced hours, through no fault of your own.

  4. Actively seek suitable employment each week.

    • Actively seeking suitable employment means you are taking action each week towards finding a job that matches your skills, experience, training, and mental and physical ability.

      • At first this may be assessing what skills you have and what type of work you should pursue. You may create or update a resume, see a job counselor, go to job search workshops, and so on.
      • The goal is to find appropriate job openings each week and present yourself to those employers as a good candidate.
    • If your usual occupation is seasonal, you must look for other types of work in the off season. If you are on temporary layoff, you may seek temporary work until recalled.
    • If you belong to a "hiring hall", a union that does not allow you to look for work on your own, you do not have to personally seek work. However, you must be in good standing with the union and on their work referral list.

  5. Be able and willing to begin suitable work without delay when offered.

    • You can only be paid benefits for weeks you are able and willing to accept work. This means you:

      • Have arranged or are arranging transportation and necessary family care. If you take a trip, it must be to seek work, or you cannot be paid the period you are gone.
      • Are physically and mentally able to perform work. If you have medical restrictions, you must seek work you have the ability and qualifications to perform.
      • Are willing to seek and accept the hours, wage, commuting distance, and other conditions of employment that are normal for someone in your occupation with your skills and experience. If your unemployment benefits are based on full-time work, you must seek and accept full-time work unless medical restrictions prevent it.
      • If you are taking classes, you must be willing to rearrange or quit classes if necessary to accept work. Reference Going to School for more information.
      • Are not in jail or on electronic home monitoring. You cannot be paid if you are incarcerated in any manner, including home monitoring, regardless of any work search you may make or work release agreement.
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